I rushed down the slope, but it was difficult to descend without tumbling down myself. There were shrubs everywhere. I got scratched a dozen times, and a rash soon started spreading over my left arm. I ignored it. My body would heal, and if not, I was going to use what was left of the ointment. It was in her bag. I just had to find her.
She’d fallen into a ravine. All I could do was pray to the Three Heads that she was fine, and she hadn’t broken anything. I ran as fast as I could without breaking something myself.
I thought I heard her at some point. I stopped and looked left and right, listening closely. Nothing. Maybe I’d imagined it. I hurried down.
I got to the bottom of the ravine and was shocked to see she wasn’t there. No one was. I looked around, frantic to find any clues as to what had happened. She should’ve been here. I saw her fall with my own eyes, and even though I couldn’t follow her trajectory because of the rocks and shrubs, I could guess where she had landed.
I crouched and touched the ground with my fingertips. Someone had laid there just a few minutes before. I could see the shape of a body in the dust. I stood up and walked around, looking for more clues. And then I saw it... Footsteps. Not hers. These were bigger than hers. Wider.
Someone had found her. Someone had reached her before I did, and they had kidnapped her. I couldn’t see any signs of dragging, so they had probably lifted her and carried her. I hoped to the Three Heads that whoever it was, they hadn’t hurt her. Otherwise, I’d be forced to spill blood today.
I adjusted my fire weapon and my daggers on my belt and started tracking the bastards who had dared to lay their hands on my human female. Yes, bastards, because the footsteps said there were two of them. And yes, my human female. I’d found her. I’d touched her, and she’d touched me. No one else was allowed to lay a hand on her, or I’d have to cut it.
Maybe I’d been wrong. It wasn’t that I hadn’t found my soulmate because I was cursed, or because I didn’t deserve such love and blessing. Maybe it was because she had never been on Zorran. My mate had been on Terra all this time, waiting for an alien slave ship to deliver her to this horrible planet and into my arms.
I prayed the Three Heads would forgive me for taking back my promise. I couldn’t pledge myself to the god of my people when I’d found my mate. It was my duty to claim her now. To find her once more, save her, and take her with me. I’d told her I would fly her to the Hub, where I’d help her catch a ship to Terra. I couldn’t do that anymore.
I climbed out of the ravine and tracked the kidnappers to a stream. There, I found Angie’s bag. Her things were scattered all over, some of them floating down the stream. I quickly picked everything up, saving as much as I could. The canned food and the water weren’t there, which meant the two kidnappers had taken those with them. The medicine was there, though, so I found the ointment and quickly treated the rash on my arm.
This planet was as unfriendly as it could be. At every step, I got stung or scratched, and I didn’t have the time or the disposition to pay attention to what touched my skin.
I briefly looked at the map and realized that following Angie’s kidnappers meant going in the opposite direction of where the pirate’s cave was. But it was a detour worth taking. Ta’sha would have to wait. I hadn’t lied to Angie when I told her that my sister was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. Granted it had been a stupid idea to willingly go with a pirate, Ta’sha could take him out if need be.
Nothing was more important than my Angie right now. So, I turned my back to the direction where I knew the cave was in. Angie needed me. I wasn’t going to abandon her when I knew she was praying to her own god to send me to her rescue. I would have to ask her who her god was. What his name was, what her people thought he looked like. And I was going to tell her about the Three Heads – the triple deity whose three names we were not allowed to speak out loud. That was how sacred the Three Heads was.
When I found Angie, when she was in my arms again, happy and protected, I would ask her everything about herself and her world. And I would tell her all she wanted to know about myself and my world. It was time for us to get to know each other better. What happened on Sorahan Island didn’t have to stay on Sorahan Island. I was going to take her, and all the memories we’d made here, with me. I was going to take her to Zorran, to the Kingdom of Zo’kun. I was still a prince, and I was going to make her my princess.